Wartime objects at Hillingdon Local Studies, Archives and Museum Service.
Everyone thinks they have a pretty good grip on World War Two history. It’s been passed down for generations and all young people learn about it in schools, but there are still bits and pieces that will make you wonder.
This was my first impression when I came across a piece of shrapnel in the Local Studies collection while on work experience. It was made of metal, with a long heat-fused part next to a tap-shaped end. I held this object – once an ordinary household item – in the curve between my first finger and my thumb and the most surprising thing was that it felt like it had been made to sit there.
Local Studies holds many other objects from World War Two, including an incendiary bomb. This bomb is perfectly safe but I was fascinated by the markings around the side and on the end of it. I managed to decipher most of them, despite some damage from corrosion, but it still left me confused as to what they could all mean.
The last items that intrigued me were two helmets which looked very similar in shape, colour, and style. However, one was marked ‘FG’ for Fire Guard and had the reference A.M.C. 5 1941 inside; the other had no letters to say who had worn it, but again had a reference inside – this time 1941 B.M.B. Perhaps ‘1941’ (at the height of the Blitz) referred to the year they were made.
All of these things prove there is much more about the war and the people who lived through it than most people ever read about.
By Rachel, on work experience with Hillingdon Local Studies, Archives and Museum Service
Check our online catalogue http://www.heritagebuildsbridges.org.uk/heritage/Search/index.htm for more World War Two objects in our collections. Just give us 3 days’ notice if you want to see any of them.